The bishop was then fain to know how it had come about that he had forgathered there with Ciutazza. Whereupon the young men related the whole story; which ended, the bishop commended both the lady and the young men not a little, for that they had taken condign vengeance upon him without imbruing their hands in the blood of a priest. The bishop caused him to bewail his transgression forty days; but what with his love, and the scornful requital which it had received, he bewailed it more than forty and nine days, not to mention that for a great while he could not shew himself in the street but the boys would point the finger at him and say:—“There goes he that lay with Ciutazza.” Which was such an affliction to him that he was like to go mad. On this wise the worthy lady rid herself of the rector’s vexatious importunity, and Ciutazza had a jolly night and earned her shift.
(1) An augmentative form, with a suggestion of cagnazza, bitch-like.
— Three young men pull down the breeches of a judge from the Marches, while he is administering justice on the bench. —
So ended Emilia her story; and when all had commended the widow lady:—“’Tis now thy turn to speak,” quoth the queen, fixing her gaze upon Filostrato, who answered that he was ready, and forthwith thus began:—Sweet my ladies, by what I remember of that young man, to wit, Maso del Saggio, whom Elisa named a while ago, I am prompted to lay aside a story that I had meant to tell you, and to tell you another, touching him and some of his comrades, which, notwithstanding there are in it certain words (albeit ’tis not unseemly) which your modesty forbears to use, is yet so laughable that I shall relate it.
As you all may well have heard, there come not seldom to our city magistrates from the Marches, who for the most part are men of a mean spirit, and in circumstances so reduced and beggarly, that their whole life seems to be but a petty-foggery; and by reason of this their inbred sordidness and avarice they bring with them judges and notaries that have rather the air of men taken from the plough or the last than trained in the schools of law.(1) Now one of these Marchers, being come hither as Podesta, brought with him judges not a few, and among them one that called himself Messer Niccola da San Lepidio, and looked liker to a locksmith than aught else. However, this fellow was assigned with the rest of the judges to hear criminal causes. And as folk will often go to the court, though they have no concern whatever there, it so befell that Maso del Saggio went thither one morning in quest of one of his friends, and there chancing to set eyes on this Messer Niccola, where he sate, deemed him a fowl of no common feather, and surveyed him from head to foot, observing that the vair which he wore on his head was all begrimed, that he carried an ink-horn at his girdle, that his gown was longer than his robe,